22 September 2020

In the name of judicial activism Judges cannot cross their limits

Before parting with this case we would like to make some observations about the limits of the powers of the judiciary. We are compelled to make these observations because we are repeatedly coming across cases where Judges are unjustifiably trying to perform executive or legislative functions. In our opinion this is clearly unconstitutional. In the name of judicial activism Judges cannot cross their limits and try to take over functions which belong to another organ of the State.[Para No.17]

In the name of judicial activism Judges cannot cross their limits
    Judges must exercise judicial restraint and must not encroach into the executive or legislative domain vide Indian Drugs & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. vs. The Workman of Indian Drugs & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (2007) 1 SCC 408 and S.C. Chandra and Ors. vs. State of Jharkhand and Ors. JT 2007 (10) 4 SC 272 (See concurring judgment of M. Katju, J.).[Para No.18]

    Under our Constitution, the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary all have their own broad spheres of operation. Ordinarily it is not proper for any of these three organs of the State to encroach upon the domain of another, otherwise the delicate balance in the Constitution will be upset, and there will be a reaction.[Para No.19]

    Judges must know their limits and must not try to run the Government. They must have modesty and humility, and not behave like Emperors. There is broad separation of powers under the Constitution and each organ of the State  the legislature, the executive and the judiciary must have respect for the others and must not encroach into each others domains.[Para No.20]

    The moral of this story is that if the judiciary does not exercise restraint and over-stretches its limits there is bound to be a reaction from politicians and others. The politicians will then step in and curtail the powers, or even the independence, of the judiciary (in fact the mere threat may do, as the above example demonstrates). The judiciary should, therefore, confine itself to its proper sphere, realizing that in a democracy many matters and controversies are best resolved in non-judicial setting.[Para No.38]

Supreme Court of India

Divisional Manager, Aravali Golf Club
Chander Hass

(2008) 1 SCC 683

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